Every Kid in a Park Program from US National Parks
The U.S. National Park Service offers a great program designed to get kids off the couch and into the great outdoors. Fourth graders can sign up for the Every Kid in a Park pass which gives them free access to the National Parks during the 2015-2016 school year. Why fourth graders? According to the National Park Service, “We chose fourth graders because research shows that kids ages nine to 11 are beginning to learn about the world around them. They’re open to new ideas, and they are likely to connect to nature and our history.” Sounds like a perfect idea to me. The National Parks not only preserve amazing outdoor spaces, but also monuments, battlefields, and other locations important to our history. This is the first yer for the program and next year will see another round of fourth grade students discover the Parks.
How does the program work?
Kids can sign up for their free pass by going to the Every kid in a Park website, answer a few questions about activities and enter your zip code to print your pass. No personal information is needed. The pass will allow free entry into hundreds of National parks through August 1, 2016. A paper copy of the pass is required for entry, digital copies are not valid. If you visit a site that charges entrance fees per person— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults for free. If your group visits a site that charges vehicle fees – The pass admits all children under 16 and all adults in up to one passenger vehicle. The pass doesn’t cover things like camping, boats, and special tours. Also, some sites are managed by private operators. They may not honor the pass. Check with the site ahead of time to find out.
As a fourth-grade educator, you can download an activity and print paper passes for each of your students. This program only provides passes for fourth graders. This applies to U.S. or U.S. military school teachers, or adults who engage fourth graders through a youth-serving organization. For example, a camp director, a home-school leader, an after-school leader, or a religious group leader. Visit the Educators section of the website for more information.
Not a 4th Grader?
An annual pass for the over 2,000 US National Parks locations costs $80 per vehicle. There are also discounts for seniors and current military members can get free passes; check here for details. On top of that, there are also free days and some parks do not have any fees.
Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2016:
- January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- April 16 through 24: National Park Week
- August 25 through 28: National Park Service Birthday
- September 24: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
Now get our there and discover our National Parks!